It was the car built out of fear.
Concerned that convertibles could be banned in the U.S. for safety reasons, Porsche came up with a body style that would feel like a convertible but have the rigidity and rollover safety of a coupe.
The Porsche 911 Targa was born in 1967 with a fixed rollover hoop and a removable plastic rear window. It was revolutionary and led the way to a future of mostly topless motoring.
Of course, the convertible never was outlawed here and remains the overwhelming choice for wind-in-the-hair driving. That’s probably why the Targa has had a bumpy road here, though to this day Porsche hasn’t given up on it.
In 1968 a fixed glass window replaced the removable plastic window. The top was removable by hand, though, and had to be left at home. That’s how things remained until 1993, when Porsche developed a new roof mechanism incorporating a large glass panel that slid back to create an open space above the cabin. Essentially, the Targa became a 911 with a giant sunroof, which remained with the new 996 version in 1998.
The newest 991 version of the 911 Targa has electric motors that lift the entire rear window out of the way before automatically folding the solid roof panels into a storage compartment. The rear window then glides back into place.
If you’re shopping for a convertible to enjoy as summer wraps up, consider a targa as an option. Targas offer better safety, are more versatile for year-round driving and have a look that isn’t like every other droptop on the road.
What’s your preference: convertible or targa top?